Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Carrot-ful Meal


I think my mom, Kate, might be stressed out this week, don't you? I'll give her the day off and post a few recipes that Kevin and I made this past weekend. We never thinned out the carrots in our garden and so we are swimming in a sea of orange roots right now. I wanted to use up a lot of our carrots, but in an interesting way. Carrot soup seemed too plain, and carrot cake needs those little
carrot jockeys in order to be fun, so I scoured our cookbooks and the internet for other recipes.

The first recipe we made is Padma Lakshmi's Mahi Mahi Coconut Curry with Fennel and Carrots. It includes a few ingredients that aren't normal for a Western kitchen (mainly kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves) but I found them quite easily at the Asain grocery store and I definitely wouldn't leave them out since they imparted a wonderful, bright flavor to the coconut milk. The resulting curry was amazingly flavorful (but not very spicy). As Kevin proclaimed, "this is on the rotation!" We both loved it.

Mahi Mahi Coconut Curry with Fennel and Carrots

Ingredients

  1. Eight 6-ounce skinless mahimahi fillets (or other white fish that doesn't flake too easily)
  2. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. Salt
  4. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  5. 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  6. 3 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  7. 8 small dried red chiles
  8. 12 fresh curry leaves
  9. 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  10. 8 kaffir lime leaves
  11. 1 large fennel bulb—halved, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
  12. 4 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  13. 1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
  14. Two 15-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk (we used light coconut milk and it turned out perfectly)
  15. 1 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish


Instructions:
1. Put the mahimahi fillets in a large, shallow dish. Pour the lemon juice over the fish and season
lightly with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. In a very large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the garlic cloves and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles and curry leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and lime leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fennel, carrots and curry powder and season lightly with salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes longer.

3. Add the mahimahi and any accumulated juices to the casserole, nestling the fish into the stew. Cover and simmer over low heat, shifting the fish a few times, until it is just cooked, about 15 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a large, deep platter. Pour the sauce over and around the fish. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

PRINTABLE RECIPE
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But wait, we needed something for dessert! After looking through Food and Wine for for carrot-related desserts, I found this Almond and Carrot Cake that looked like it would be a nice finish to our meal. I didn't get a good photo of the cake, but trust me, it turned out to be a wonderful cake, not too sweet, with a flavor of almonds, lemon, and just a hint of carrots. And it was perfect with my afternoon tea the next day! We didn't have the appropriate pan, so we used an angel food cake pan and adjusted the cooking time, but it all turned out in the end!

Almond and Carrot Cake

Ingredients:


  1. 2 cups whole blanched almonds (10 ounces) (we used almond flour we already had on hand)
  2. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  5. Salt
  6. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  7. 3 large carrots (10 ounces),
  8. coarsely chopped
  9. 4 large eggs, separated
  10. Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Instructions


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch springform or fluted cake pan. Toast the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the almonds to a large plate to cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using a fork, blend the flour with the baking powder, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. In a food processor, grind the toasted almonds with the sugar to a fine powder; do not let the nuts turn into a paste. Add the almond powder to the flour mixture in the bowl. Add the carrots to the processor and whir until very finely chopped; add them to the bowl. Add the egg yolks to the bowl and stir until blended.
  3. In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-third of the egg whites into the carrot mixture to loosen it, then gently fold in the remaining whites until the batter is just blended.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is just set. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool slightly in the pan. Unmold the cake onto a serving dish. Just before serving, sift confectioners' sugar over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
5. We put the remains of the cake in the fridge and it was perfect the next day.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

It's Foodie Friday again! Be sure to visit Designs by Gollum to see this week's participants. Thank you Michael for hosting Foodie Friday each week!



14 comments:

  1. Yes, I am stressed this week! Your curry dish looks wonderful. You know how I love curry. I will have to try it out! Thanks!

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  2. I haven't had carrots or curry in a while. This is such a warm, delicious-looking recipe.

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  3. What a good girl you are to step in!!:)

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  4. I am always looking for a new way to do fish--thanks for stepping in with great recipes! Kate, hope all is well!

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  5. What great recipes. I'm especially enamored with the carrot torte. I have a question, however. Does 2 cups of whole almonds = 2 cups of ground?
    I would have thought it to be less. I haven't tried any of Padma's recipes yet, so these will be a real treat for us. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

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  6. almond and carrot cake? that sounds like a very flavorful cake!

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  7. Ahhh....I love fennel! Interesting recipe!

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  8. Almond Carrot Cake is right up my alley! Am printing out the recipe now.

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  9. i must say, curry just isn't for me, but carrot cake? yes please! nice of you to give kate a break, audie. :)

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  10. @Mary: Since it gave a weight measurement, we just measured out the correct amount of almond flour. It really was a lovely cake!

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  11. Both recipes are a fabulous way to use up those carrots! Nice!

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